Microbrews are all the rage, and it seems that every major super market and corner liquor store is stocked up on them, especially IPAs, a beer that is so thick with hops you can practically chew it as you drink one. In the sprit of their popularity, and the fact that it’s IPA day, here are some facts about IPAs and hops that you never wanted to know.
1. They were invented because of colonization – “It was the answer to the problem of providing beer for the British Empire in the east. It was too hot to brew in India, so what was needed was a beer that could survive the gruelling six-month journey from Britain intact. In the 1780s, a London brewer called Hodgson answered the call by sending out a strong, heavily hopped beer called October ale that would normally be aged like wine before drinking. The beer not only survived the journey, but was found to have improved immeasurably. This was the prototype IPA; the beer gradually became paler and more refreshing to suit the Indian climate.” https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jan/30/brief-history-of-ipa-india-pale-ale-empire-drinks
2. Hops are a cousin to cannabis – “The hop plant, Humulus lupulus, is a member of the Cannabaceae family under the Humulus genus. If hemp is cannabis’ sister, the hop plant would be its cousin” https://www.marijuana.com/news/2017/06/5-plants-you-probably-didnt-realize-were-related-to-cannabis/
3. Hops were a sleep aid in Ancient Rome – “To help problems, valerian is frequently paired with hops. Hops is the plant that is best known as an ingredient in beer. Like valerian, hops also been used for hundreds of years as an herbal medicine to treat sleep problems as well as anxiety, irritability, excitability, and restlessness” https://www.thesleepdoctor.com/2017/06/19/understanding-valerian-hops-how-valerian-and-hops-can-help-you-de-stress-relax-and-sleep-better/
4. Just because its really hoppy doesnt mean its an IPA – check the standards put out by the Beer Judge Certification Program https://www.bjcp.org/styles04/
5. There are aproximatly 500 brands of IPA sold in the US alone – https://tastessence.com/beer-brands-list